Monday, May 18, 2009

Wall Art...

I have the best niece and nephew in the world and I miss them every day.

Just before Easter I received a squishy but very light package in the post. I knew it couldn't be Cadburys eggs as a) it was too light and b) I had received an enormous supply of Cadburys chocolate delights the week before. As you can see - my package revealed a couple of very life-like self portraits - one from Livs and one from Josh. Perfect! They now adorn the wall in our kitchen so I can look at them and smile every day! I love you Livvy, I love you Josh!

I love Duncs....

....I really do! We had the opportunity to re-connect with my 'virtual' baby - who is no longer a baby! Janine and Brian invited Mikey and I to have dinner and paint eggs with Duncs and Theo a couple of weeks ago. It was as wonderful as ever - although a little unnerving to hear Duncs chatting up a storm!
I don't know where my head was at, thinking that he wouldn't remember us; I got the biggest hug and 'Kaaaaaate' when we arrived plus a couple of 'I love you Kates' during the evening which was enough to melt my heart and keep me going until the next time we are lucky enough to see them!

Tomayto, Tomarrrto...

We have our first tomato....woo hooo!!! It's our first attempt at growing edible plants in our new garden. We agonized for far too long over the placement of our tomato pot but I think we got it just right. Thanks to my green-fingered Vati-bobs, I have now learned about pinching out rogue shoots, limiting flower 'sets', feeding once the fruit is set and weeding out superfluous foliage. And apparently tomatoes are supposed to be one of the easiest veggies to grow........ yikes!

Hanging Baskets

I decided to bite the bullet and buy and plant my own hanging baskets this year rather than buy pre-planted ones. It seems I timed it just right as the weather has been alternating between sun and rain ever since they were hung. Here's the before and after pics. In bloom pics to follow!

Chalk and cheese...

We love our garden! It was one of the main reasons we chose this house. I have always lived in a house with a garden and this house had such an English cottage garden feel to it - it was hard to resist. The biggest surprise has been how much the garden has 'de-hermitized' my wonderful husband. It's hard to get Mike in from the garden now - especially on these lovely summer evenings. I'm not sure how it happened but somewhere along the line an unspoken assignment was made; I tend the back garden, Mike looks after the front. Needless to say - we have different gardening styles. I'm going to leave it at that and let the pictures tell the story! Maybe yin and yang would have been a better title for this Blog entry; despite our different approaches/priorities - the end result, I think, looks pretty good!

Spring has sprung....finally!

It was a long, hard winter and it felt like it would never end - but one sunny morning in April (has it really been that long since I last Blogged?) the crocuses finally forced their way through the rock hard earth to add a splash of colour to the garden. Despite having owned a garden for most of my adult life I am still learning the nuances and tricks of the trade. When I planted my bulbs a year last winter I made two bad decisions; I chose spots with too little sun for my miniature daffodils and some of my crocuses. The result, as you can see was sad, withdrawn blooms in the shade and happy sun drenched flowers on the right! Live and learn!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Adventure on Hex Mountain..

The name of the mountain did cross my mind - briefly - and I quickly dismissed it as me being paranoid.
However - it did kind of live up to it's slightly troublesome moniker - in that it dealt us some pretty interesting weather to deal with - which made the hike a little challenging and the ride home pretty hairy.
Hex Mountain is just outside Roslyn, which in turn is a little further on from Cle Elum - which for those not from these parts, translates to about 2 and a bit hours east of Seattle.
It's a 7 mile snowshoe trail through some very very pretty scenery; alternating wide open snow fields and sparse pine tree clusters. The beginning of the trail is brutal - all uphill - not much relief - up an old logging road. Thank goodness it is so beautiful - for that kept this out of shape Limey going. Well - that and watching our daffy dog either eating snow, trying to shake it off his paws or following the trails of various woodland creatures at full tilt!
Needless to say we did not reach the summit - but the time we had hiked for just over an hour uphill - the wind picked up and it started to snow pretty hard. That in itself was not really a problem - but when we crested a ridge and Mikey said he couldn't really see where the trail continued - I decided that my comfort level had been reached and we turned back.
Must have been some internal warning system as by the time we got back to the car and on the road - it was virtual whiteout conditions and Snoqualmie Pass was a skating rink. We took full advantage of all three lanes of freeway a couple of times - taking the less conventional sideways route across them - but thanks to some nifty steering by my hero of a husband - we avoided any stationery objects. We didn't talk much on the way home! We did however crack open a cool one as soon as we got back home safely!
We will do Hex again - next time to the summit as it has stunning views by all accounts.
The pics tell the story quite well I think!

Mad for Brad.....

Brad Paisley - Dierks Bentley - Tacoma Dome - February 28th - could it possibly be more exciting?! Well - let me tell you - the answer is NO! Especially when you factor in the brewhouse dinner, cupcakes, obligatory tour T Shirts and fantastic seats.
Of course, my trusty cowgirl Tiffy Two-Steps accompanied me (we did bring the boys too - but they took a bit of persuading!)
Brad was amazing - he is such a talented musician and storyteller - and funny as all getout. Yes - he's handsome too - but that has nothing to do with why we went so I won't mention it ;-)
He played for over 2 hours without a break and had some amazing video/graphics to support the songs (including a very clever animated cartoon which he had produced himself - is there no end to his talents!)
I had been looking forward to this concert for such a long time - which is always slightly worrying as the potential for disappointment is so great. I needn't have worried - it was all I had expected and more - and it left me wanting to do it again!
Tiff and I are already planning our trip to Nashville - perhaps we'll call in on Brad and Kim for a cuppa whilst we're there!

Caitlyn's here.....

Although she was only a couple of days past her due date - it felt to all of us - but especially poor Jenni - as if she would NEVER show her face! But she did! On February 15th - a nearly Valentine girly - but not quite.
Despite the fact I was convinced 'she' was going to be a 'he', I really didn't mind being wrong one little bit!
As you can see - she's cute alright! Looks just like her Daddy (except for the pink hat with a bow!)
So I'm officially an Auntie again - to my unofficial niece...and almost namesake :-) Since I miss my real niece (and nephew of course!) too much - it's good I have Little Cait to fill the gap.
She came out to breakfast with us today - and slept through the whole thing! I'm sure it won't be long before that becomes a rareity - she'll be chomping on her own portion of french toast and hash browns before you know it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Golden moments.......

....I could devote an entire Blog to 'this is why I'm a Special Ed teacher' moments but I'll restrict it to a wee anecdote from today's lunchtime.

I read stories during lunch - helps the kids forget that they don't want to eat what's in their lunchbox. Reading a book whilst making sure they don't a) get into a fist fight b) eat any food to which they may be allergic or c) tread yoghurt or carrot puree into the carpet - is quite a skill - one I am still learning. Sometimes I become a little distracted - as I did today - and usually the boys are patient with me. Today however, the story must have been particularly riveting as during one of my distracted moments, the cheeky monkey sitting next to me, grabbed hold of my face with both hands, turned my face back to the book and said in a very 'teacherish' voice....'FOCUS, Miss Kate, FOCUS!'

Like I said... golden moments!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ding Dong, the couch is dead........

..the couch is dead, the couch is dead.
Ding Dong, the stinky-stained-1970's throwback-ugly patterned- backache inducing-glad it can't talk-doesn't go with anything-college couch is dead................

Sadly, this long, long, long awaited event - whilst inducing the kind of euphoric joy reserved only for interior design moments when everything comes together, in myself - has caused our dog to go into a deep depression and a refusal to even acknowledge the new couch, and my husband to have developed a faint nostalgic look in his eye.

Nah - who cares - the couch is gone - wey hey :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Christmas pudding, crackers and crowds...

......all those time honoured British traditions; figgy pudding - with lashings of brandy butter, custard and cream...mmmmmmmmmmm; multiple crackers - all with the same jokes inside; and crowds galore. Technically we started the 'crowd' part at the beginning of our journey - at the airport in Seattle - which had become a mammouth labyrinth of queues due to the uncooperative weather. Miraculously - and we still have no idea why or how it happened - our flight left - albeit 3 hours late - but it left. Our travel Fairy obviously put in a little overtime during the festive season.
So the crowds continued; at the Queens for our Christmas Eve pint, at the Cathedral for our annual dose of religion, in the town centre for the post Christmas 'Sale Lunacy', and at the Villa ground for Mike's annual Premier League Soccer fix.
Just to clarify. Mike has developed a manly affection for our local Premier League team - Aston Villa (or 'Villa' to the locals). He has seen them play at home twice now and it seems that was enough to trigger a more than passing interest in their progress in the league standings. As it happens they are doing quite well - not that it would make any difference to Mike if they weren't - but it means his weekly updates via the gloriously versatile ESPN - are filled with anticipation and a little excitement to see whether they have managed to maintain their rankings at the top end of the board. Ahhhh - if I had known in my youth that I would be married to a die hard Villain........